Neighbors of Bateman Mall met with Berkeley city officials for the third time on Thursday to discuss the city’s conceptual plan for the restoration of the grassy mall.
Residents of Prince and Dana streets said they were irked by the city’s failure to honor the agreements over the restoration of Bateman Mall Park. made with the Bateman-Prince-Colby community at a May 15 meeting.
According to the neighbors, time is running short for the restoration project and the situation has been made worse by the city’s inability to get the plans to the residents for review by the middle of June, as they had been promised at the May meeting.
The neighbors said they still expect the city to finish the restoration by the start of the rainy season around the middle of October regardless of what needs to be done to make it happen.
Peter B. Eakland, associate city traffic engineer, along with Loren Jensen, the city’s drainage engineer, apologized for the delay and presented a project plan to the neighbors. After discussion about various drainage possibilities, it was decided that a grass crete acting as drainage would give the best aesthetics and also act as efficient drainage.
The neighbors however were against open drainage on the sidewalk as it would couse problems for those using strollers and wheelchairs.
“We also need to keep in mind that the current in the open drains during the rains is strong enough to wash away a 1-year-old playing in the Bateman tot-lot,” said Jocelyn Bale Glickman, a resident of Prince Street. “We would therefore like it if the water when it gets to the sidewalk, goes under the sidewalk.”
In the end neighbors and city officials both decided that a grass crete road acting as a drain, with the possibility of a verm, ultimately leading to drainage under the sidewalk instead of over it, would be the best option.
Regarding sinage, it was decided that there would be “No Through Access” signs placed on both ends of the cul-de-sac but that the mall itself would remain sign-free. The curb would be chamfered to give firetrucks access during emergency operations and would be painted red.
Eakland also informed the residents that after survey work was completed, expected by the end of July, a plan would be sent to Alta Bates Hospital by Aug. 15 for a review. Following that, negotiations between Alta Bates and the contractor would continue for two weeks. Restoration work is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.
The neighbors were informed that Alta Bates would not be spending any more money on the restoration than what was initially budgeted. The project cost at present comes up to approximately $16,000.
The neighbors stressed the fact that maintenance of the mall was also an important issue, as the city has neglected to clear clogged drains in the past, creating the flooding problems.
Eakland and Jenson outlined their long-range plans, which included a detailed survey of the Dana and Prince streets drainage problem with plans to improve it in fiscal year 2008.